Miami University is planning on changing its relationship with its regional campuses.
Currently, Miami has regional campuses in Hamilton, Middletown and at the Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester. These campuses are Miami affiliates but they differentiate from Oxford due to student population and needs.
In 2009, a committee proposed a recommendation for Miami’s Oxford campus to give its sister branches more independence.
This means the regional campuses will not have to rely on departments in Oxford making decisions and policy changes.
Instead, the regional campuses will have a distinct administration and faculty hired specifically to work for those campuses.
At this time, faculty members are typically hired through the departments on the Oxford campus and spread out across campuses. The proposed plan will allow each campus to make hiring and academic decisions that reflect the specific needs of the university.
The editorial board of The Miami Student is concerned about a lack of transparency in the formulation and execution of this plan.
While the initial decision to make changes was in 2009, the process for deciding what changes to make and how to make them has been relatively opaque thus far, to the frustration of 8 faculty who wrote to President David Hodge and Provost Bobby Gempesaw.
This board worries the proposed plan has the potential to damage Miami’s brand and complicate faculty hiring.
If the recommendation goes through, the prestige the regional campuses receive from their association with Oxford may wane.
The more separate Hamilton and Middletown appear from Oxford, the more high academic achievement could suffer.
Moreover, the faculty hiring process may be complicated by these changes because departments in Oxford will be taken out of the equation.
Rather than having a successful department to attract high caliber professionals, smaller regional departments will potentially have lower standards and less appeal to potential professors.
Many faculty members are shocked by the vagueness of the proposed changes.
This is a problem because too many questions are going unanswered and time is running out.
Ultimately, Miami needs to be more transparent and deliberate about this process. Only time will tell what exact steps and changes will occur, but the university needs to be more upfront about this proposal’s aims.